By Joshua Bode, Class of 2021
Photography by Adrian VanStee, Class of 2019
Randy Huisman sacrifices sleep, time with his family, and personal time to lift and do devotions with teenage kids for an hour every morning. Every weekday, a group of ten to fifteen students arrive at school one hour before classes start. These students are all here for one reason: weight lifting. Some take it as a zero hour class, others just come. Regardless, they all have chosen to be there.
Despite being a hulk of a man that can bench press 315 pounds easily, the actual process of lifting is not Mr. Huisman’s favorite part of the morning. The best part of his day is always at the end when everyone gathers to read a devotional and discuss it. Huisman makes it seem easy to discuss things like God in a large group. He talks about his own faith journey and how he can personally relate to specific Bible verses and devotionals.
Mr. Huisman gives challenges to build student’s faith. A few months ago, he challenged the kids to text Bible verses to their friends. His daily challenge is to do devotions at night and pray with family members.
He doesn’t just challenge us to do these things though. He holds us accountable and checks up on how we are doing with the challenges.
He preaches that our spiritual life is like our lifting life: To get the best results, you need to put in the work and do it every single day.
Huisman reads a Bible verse to go along with his message for the day. One verse he shared with us was Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I can remember this verse so specifically because I was going through a harder time in my life, where I wasn’t playing as well as I hoped on the soccer field. Huisman spoke about how we can depend on God during the bad periods in our life and that is something that really stuck with me.
Even though most people assume that students only go to lifting to get better at their sport or to make their body look more attractive, that is not why I go anymore. Early morning lifting has become more than that for me.
I have found a band of brothers to help me with my faith walk. The daily lifters have become like a family — people I can trust with anything, people that will help me overcome any lows in my life.